Information Bulletin Number 0908305

Evaluation of Antimony and Mercury
Exposure in Firefighters
On October 24, 2008, NIOSH received an HHE (Health Hazard Evaluation) request from the Fire Chief of BRFRS
(Boca Raton Fire Rescue services) regarding antimony exposure among firefighters. The concern began with one
firefighter who had been experiencing unexplained neurologic symptoms, including hoarseness, weakness, and
numbness, since October 2007. He had seen multiple physicians, but no diagnosis was made. In July 2008, the fire
fighter sought the care of a holistic medicine physician who performed heavy metals testing on a hair sample through a
commercial laboratory. This test revealed an elevated level of antimony.
The HHE Program evaluated firefighters' potential exposure to antimony through station uniform pants made of
FireWear® fabric. Investigators found that wearing pants made from FireWear® fabric did not pose a health hazard
from antimony exposure. Investigators recommended that fire departments continue to issue station uniforms that
comply with the National Fire Protection Association 1975 standard.
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